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OS X Mountain Lion: Set up guest users

Set up guest users

If you want to let other people use your computer temporarily and don’t want to add them as users, you can allow guest users. You specify whether guest users can connect to shared folders or log in to your computer. You can also set parental controls on guest users to restrict how they use your computer. For example, you can limit the apps a guest user has access to, or filter Internet content.

When guests log in, they don’t need a password. While logged in, they can’t change user settings or computer settings. They also can’t log in remotely when remote login is turned on in Sharing preferences.

Allowing guest login enables the Find My Mac service of iCloud to locate your computer when someone finds it, logs in as a guest, and uses Safari to access the Internet. You must turn on Find My Mac before you lose your computer.

When FileVault is turned on, guest users can only log in and use Safari. Guests can’t access your FileVault-encrypted disk or create files. Instead, they log in and use Safari from your computer’s built-in recovery disk. For more information about FileVault, see this help topic:

Encrypt the information on your disk with FileVault

Important: Files created by a guest user are deleted when the user logs out. A temporary home folder is created for the guest user’s files, but this folder and its contents are deleted when the user logs out.
  1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, and then click Users & Groups.
  2. Click the lock icon to unlock it, and then type an administrator name and password.
  3. Select Guest User in the list of accounts.
  4. To let a guest user log in to the computer, select “Allow guests to log in to this computer.”

    However, guest users can’t log in remotely.

  5. If you let guests log in, you can also set up parental controls for guests by selecting “Enable parental controls” and clicking Open Parental Controls.

    For more information about the limits you can set, see this help topic:

    Set up parental controls

  6. To let guests use your shared folders and their contents from another computer on your network, select “Allow guests to connect to shared folders.”

You can also use a sharing-only user to give others remote access to shared folders.

Add a sharing-only user

Last Modified: Aug 8, 2013
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  • Last Modified: Aug 8, 2013
  • Article: PH11321
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